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The Long Walk by Stephen King

The Long Walk (original 1979; edition 1979)

by Stephen King

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3,160841,771 (3.99)93
Title:The Long Walk
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Signet (1999), Edition: 1st, Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:dystopian, usa, maine, new hampshire, massachusetts, game show, contest, fascism, teenager, YA

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The Long Walk by Stephen King (1979)

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English (79)  Italian (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (83)
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
Good characterizations, interesting story, typical Stephen King, pretty gory. ( )
  KathyGilbert | Jan 29, 2016 |
One hundred young people (under 20?) start on a walk (see title). There will be only one winner; the person who is the last man standing. All other competitors will have died, killed by soldiers of the ruling state. The journey's progress is described in approximately 370 pages. Descriptions of most of the 100 participants, the motives for their willing participation, many family backgrounds, and behavioral descriptions of the observing crowds are described.

A detailed observation of an Italian immigrant watermelon salesman attempting to help the walkers is rich in its first presentation and works well together with several other incidents in summary recollections later. The same is true of the description of a walker's aunt whose greatest satisfaction in life is to note the earlier deaths of her relatives and friends.

There is a fun section prior to the beginning of the story titled "The Importance of Being Bachman". Not to be missed for fans of Stephen King. A great author by any other name is...... (still a great author). ( )
  ajarn7086 | Jan 23, 2016 |
Pretty good story, full of the usual Stephen King questions and curiosities. A somewhat similar if simpler story to the Hunger Games that leaves more to the reader's imagination. A good read for any King fan. ( )
  biggs1399 | Jan 19, 2016 |
King's version of The Lottery ( )
  Belles007 | Jan 17, 2016 |
This book is good, but it's not perfect. My main complaint is that everybody brings up the Hunger Games when talking about it, and that's pretty annoying. Except for a couple of narrative elements, the books have almost nothing in common. Stephen King should have considered how irritating this would be when he published it 35 years ago. Silly man.

This basically takes place in an alternate present (or alternate 1970's-present, as it were, since this book hasn't aged terribly well, though not to its detriment) in which the government or military sucks just a little bit harder than it does in real life. It's not the focus of the novel, so it's hard to describe. We know only 2 things: 1) that man are carted off to some sort of military service from which they usually don't return, and 2) there is an annual Long Walk, in which 100 boys volunteer to compete in a televised walk-a-thon for the ultimate prize (whatever they want), only it lasts for days and they get shot if they go slow or stop. It's pretty terrible. Nobody really make it clear why anyone would do this, but apparently it's very competitive just to get in.

Other reviews have criticized the "world building" saying it's pretty thin. They're not wrong. How the Long Walk came to be, why people cheer for it, what the world is like... none of this is touched on. But that's not really the point. There are these characters and there is the situation that they are in, and that is enough. The story is strong without it. I feel as though this need many readers have for every last detail to be fleshed out is a relatively modern phenomenon. Yes, some stories suffer without a strong sense of place and context, and other attempt these things and fail. But when evaluating a novel, it's important to focus on what is being communicated and how. In this case, I don't believe the story would gain anything from an expanded context.

The novel does suffer from a couple of what I call King's Things. It's got a bit of casual racism, a strong gender dichotomy, and that homophobic crap that crops up in his work. Stephen King himself we know to be an enlightened and socially conscious person, and I'm not accusing him by any means. But he does have a penchant for putting these ideas into the heads of his characters, especially in his early work, and it's hard not to feel a little uncomfortable. Yeah, teenage boys call each other "queer" because they're jackasses, but now that I'm not in high school, I don't need to listen to it anymore.

The other King's Thing is something I can't define as well. Whenever Stephen King puts references to sexuality in his books (actual sex, descriptions of body parts, feelings, anything) I hate it, and I don't know why. I've read dozens, maybe hundreds of books with characters talking about boobs and dicks and sexing up this that and the other, ranging from playfully bawdy to so horrifyingly extreme I've been unable to continue. But Stephen King is the only writer that makes me feel like a dirty pervert. Whether awkwardly mentioning someone's breasts or writing a scene in which a character's balls hurt from desire, sex in his books comes out of nowhere, it often makes no sense, it adds very little to the narrative... I just hate it. Anyway it happens here. Try to ignore it.

I didn't mean to write this much. Good book. Bye. ( )
  SomethingIshy | Dec 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
Wielki Marsz
Jaka jest największa nagroda, którą można sobie wymarzyć? Wielu odpowiedziałoby pieniądze, sława czy władza. Ale jest coż ważniejszego od tych rzeczy. Największą nagrodą jest zachowanie życia. Taką właśnie tematykę podjął Stephen King w książce zatytułowanej "Wielki Marsz". Autor znowu zaskoczył czytelników głębią swojego umysłu. Stworzył bowiem opowieść wciągającą, alegoryczną i tonącą w mrocznym klimacie.

Tym razem S. King mocą swojej wyobraźni przeniósł czytelnika na start wyścigu. Meta natomiast znajduje się tam, gdzie padnie ze zmęczenia przedostatni z zawodników. Raz w roku do Wielkiego Marszu stają młodzi chłopcy z całych Stanów Zjednoczonych. Ich zadaniem jest maszerować tak długo, aż zostanie tylko jeden. Jeden, bo pozostali zginą, jeśli spróbują wycofać się w trakcie wyścigu. Trasa marszu biegnie przez ogromne połacie kraju, a młodzi zawodnicy muszą wędrować niezależnie od warunków pogodowych czy pory dnia.

"Wielki Marsz" S. Kinga opowiada o brutalnej i bezwzglednej rywalizacji. Cel może osiągnąć tylko jedna osoba, a śmiałków jest wielu. Czy w grupie znajdą się ludzie gotowi pomóc słabszym zawodnikom? Czy chęć przetrwania okaże się silniejsza niż ludzkie uczucia?

Wędrując śladem zawodników wyścigu, czytelnik posmakuje napięcia, jakie zbudował S. King. Zagłębi się w mroczny świat, w którym obowiązuje tylko jedna zasada. Za wszelką cenę iść do przodu i nie zatrzymywać się nawet na moment. Tylko wtedy osiągnie się cel podróży i zdobędzie nagrodę.

"Wielki Marsz" to książka dla wszystkich miłośników literatury grozy. Ale z pewnością i inni czytelnicy znajdą interesujące wątki w opowieści S. Kinga. Niewątpliwie domeną tego autora jest to, że potrafi dotrzeć do wielu odbiorców.
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
"Für mich war das ganze Universum leer, ohne Leben, ohne Sinn, ohne Willenskraft, ja, ohne Feindseligkeit; es war eine einzige, unermesslich große, todbringende Dampfmaschine, die in ihrer tödlichen Gleichgültigkeit vor sich herstampfte und mich Glied für Glied zermalmte. Ein ödes, düsteres, einsames Golgatha, eine Todesmühle! Warum waren die Lebenden, die dorthin verbannt waren, ohne Gefährten? Warum hatten sie ein Bewusstsein? Warum, wenn es keinen Teufel gibt - oder ist der Teufel etwa euer Gott?" - Thomas Carlyle
"Ich möchte jeden Amerikaner ermuntern, so oft wie möglich zu wandern. Es ist nicht nur gesund; es bringt auch Spaß." - John F. Kennedy (1962)
"Die Pumpe ist kaputt, weil die Vandalen den Schwengel mitgenommen haben." - Bob Dylan
This is for Jim Bishop and Burt Hatlen and Ted Holmes
First words
An old blue Ford pulled into the guarded parking lot that morning, looking like a small, tired dog after a hard run.
To me the Universe was all void of Life, or Purpose, of Volition, even of Hostility; it was one huge, dead, immeasurable Steam-engine, rolling on , in its dead indifference, to grind me limb from limb. O vast, gloomy, solitary Golgatha, and Mill of Death! Why was the Living banished thither companionless, conscious? Why, if there is no Devil; nay, unless the Devil is your God." - Thomas Carlyle
"I would encourage every American to walk as often as possible. It's more that healthy; it's fun" - John F. Kennedy (1962)
"The pump don't work 'Cause the vandals took the handle." - Bob Dylan
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Every year, on the first of May, one hundred teenage boys meet for an event known throughout the country as "The Long Walk." Among this year's chosen crop is sixteen-year-old Ray Garraty. He knows the rules: that warnings are issued if you fall under speed, stumble, sit down. That after three warnings...you get your ticket. And what happens then serves as a chilling reminder that there can be only one winner in the Walk - the one that survives... (0-451-19671-6)
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451196716, Mass Market Paperback)

On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as ?The Long Walk.? If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying...

On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as ?The Long Walk.? If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:06 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In a futuristic America ruled by ultraconservatives one hundred of the nation's hardiest boys must endure a five-hundred-mile marathon race in order to win fame and fortune

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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